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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 9, 2009 / 13 Teves 5769

What Makes for Success?

By Mona Charen


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What accounts for a writer who is just deliciously engaging? If Malcolm Gladwell, author of the new book "Outliers," were answering the question, he would say that success is a combination of luck and pluck — with a lot of hard work as the predicate.


We Americans, raised on rags to riches stories, tend to downplay the role of luck in stories of great achievement. We tend to think of success, particularly outstanding success, as the conquest of genius over all obstacles. We build metaphorical plinths for the Bill Gateses or the Bill Joys of the world. We tell stories about them that emphasize their precocity: "Bill Joy got a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT" and "Bill Gates started a computer company in his garage while still in his teens." What Gladwell shows is not that talent doesn't matter, but that great success is nearly always talent matched to good fortune.


He begins with the story of hockey players in Canada. The Canadians are mad for the sport and begin a vetting process for players as early as kindergarten. On the surface it looks like a perfect meritocracy. The kids from the youngest leagues who show ability are chosen for the best teams in the intermediate leagues, and so forth on up to the professional level. Except it isn't. Someone (a hockey mom) noticed a few years back that the kids in the teen league had something in common — more than 80 percent of them had birthdays in the first three months of the year. It turns out that because those kids were the largest and most coordinated at the age of 5, when the first "merit" cut was made for higher leagues, they got chosen. And because they then received better coaching and more ice time, they improved more than later born kids. Their initial lucky advantage was reinforced. The early birthday rule applies even to professional players.


The early birthday advantage doesn't apply to all sports — not all have the limitation of scarce rink space. For example, basketball players don't need to compete for opportunities to practice their game because balls and courts are plentiful.


But birth dates — years, not months — play a surprisingly large role in other areas of achievement. Gladwell notes that to take advantage of the computer revolution, you had to be born in a year that prepared you to take advantage of the programming revolution. That revolution — from cumbersome cards that had to be hand-loaded to time-sharing multiple terminals connected by phone lines — happened around 1971. Bill Joy was at the University of Michigan at the time, one of the few campuses in the world that had such a computer. Joy spent thousands of hours in the computer center learning programming. He was in the right place at the right time. Those just a bit older were already working for IBM and stuck in an old paradigm. Those still in high school would miss the big moment. You'd need to be 20 or 21 in 1975. Now consider these birthdays: Bill Gates: 10/28/1955; Bill Joy: 11/8/1954; Steve Jobs: 2/24/1955. And many more.


Luck alone is never enough. All of the "outliers" are terrifically hard workers in addition to being smart enough (genius is not necessary).


In fact, if I understand Gladwell correctly, he'd probably put hard work above IQ when predicting success. In his chapter on "Rice Paddies and Math Tests" he examines the cultural roots of the indisputable Asian advantage in math. There's a linguistic angle, but agriculture is central. To summarize, the cultivation of rice is a complex, demanding but rewarding form of farming. Unlike wheat or corn, rice is planted year round. And it requires mental as well as physical attention. The Asian pattern of rising before dawn to work all day all year long is thousands of years old. Now consider this: When students take the TIMSS test, an international test of math proficiency, they are also asked to fill out a questionnaire consisting of more than 120 questions. Many students don't bother to answer all the questions — but different countries have different rates of compliance. A researcher from the University of Pennsylvania noticed that the rate of compliance with the questionnaire and performance on the math test were exactly the same. In other words, as Gladwell explains, "we could predict precisely the order in which every country would finish in the Math Olympics without asking a single math question." The students who had the patience to answer the questionnaire completely also had the persistence to solve the math problems.


If this much hasn't peaked your curiosity, "Outliers" also contains an intriguing chapter on "The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes," and a moving story of a true genius, Chris Langan, who dropped out after a single year of college.


This is a great book by a writer who is obviously talented and hard-working. As to his luck, well, we are lucky to have him.

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